While you may know that the Philippines boasts heavenly beaches and islands, it also has an appealing arts and culture scene that combines exotic Southeast Asian identity and a Western feel. The country, tagged as the “Pearl of the Orient Seas,” saw different cultural influences – from Chinese to Spanish to American in the past four centuries of its history.
Of course, this is a good time to visit the island country (we recommend Palawan and Bohol!) to bask in the sun. But if you also want to experience its rich visual arts, head to Haidian this weekend for an extravaganza of video and photography at In Between Spaces – Philippines Art Exhibition.
On August 19 at 5.30pm, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing opens the exhibition which showcases the craft of four emerging contemporary Filipino artists: Dexter Fernandez, Paulo Vinluan, Jay Yao, and M.M. Yu. It adds that the artists’ works “explore themes that encapsulate various Filipino concerns,” and that their perspectives provide audiences a view of the social environment in the country as well as how the themes relate to Chinese society.
In Between Spaces – Philippines Art Exhibition also marks the first presentation of contemporary Filipino photography and video art at Columbia Global Center | Beijing and the first opportunity for Chinese audiences to view these terrific works of art.
In Between Spaces – Philippines Art Exhibition Opening Ceremony, Aug 19
All ages. The opening ceremony will be conducted in English and free wine and snacks will be served. Free (Click/tap here to RSVP for the opening ceremony on Saturday. 5.30pm. Columbia Global Centers | Beijing. 26, 1F Core Plaza, 1 Shanyuan Street, Zhongguancun, Haidian District, Beijing 北京市海淀区中关村西区善缘街1号立方庭(西门)底商26号
In Between Spaces – Philippines Art Exhibition viewing, Aug 20, Aug 21 – Sep 1
Viewing time for Aug 20: 4-7pm. Viewing time from Aug 21 to Sep 1: 9am-noon and 2-5pm.
MM Yu (b. 1978, lives and works in Manila, Philippines) produces semi-autobiographical photographs and paintings that capture the beauty and the chaos of Manila. The subjects of her photography are often found in the neighborhoods where she and her friends reside. She believes that “Taking photographs is like borrowing images […] and thinking of them as swatches that I can reconfigure.” One of her most famous bodies of work, titled “Thoughts Collected, Recollected” (2007), comprises images of objects found in urban environments, organized and bound into over 20 handmade photo books. Her photographs mirror the Philippine society’s consciousness as they catalog the ever-changing economic and ecological state of the nation. Yu’s paintings, however, take on themes of organization and order through abstraction and color, variously exploring the way paint drips down a canvas or black paint’s visual effect on other colors.
She received her BFA in Painting from the University of the Philippines and completed residencies with Big Sky Mind, Manila (2003), Common Room Bandung Residency Grant (2007) and Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France (2013).
Dexter Fernandez (b. 1984, lives and works in Caloocan, Philippines) is an interdisciplinary artist who works spawn from various sources including urban lifestyle, street art and found footage. Fernandez’s practice ranges from paintings and drawings to murals, mixed media works and vintage photography-inspired posters from thrift shops. Through the juxtaposition of religious iconography with pop imagery, children’s drawings, tattoo motives, and cut outs from adult magazines, Fernandez’s eclectic compositions challenge the traditional definitions of high culture and fine art. By adding imaginary landscapes, patterns, and creatures to found images, he explores the idea of found memories and appropriation.
Works of Dex Fernandez have been exhibited in the Philippines and internationally. He also completed residency programs at the following institutions: Vermont Studio Centre (2011), Ping Pong Art Space Taiwan (2012), Lir Art Space, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2013) and Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris (2013).
Paolo Vinluan (b. 1980, lives and works in New York, USA) exhibits a graphic, narrative and experimental style in his paintings and video works, merging thematic complexity with creative clarity. Vinluan’s decade long residence between the Philippines and the US taunted him to explore the idea of home and displacement. His works often evoke the disorienting cultural and physical shifts of living on two separate continents. Vinluan’s artistic vantage point relays how an artist relates to his environment, the social constructs and the human conditions that surround him.
Vinluan graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in painting at the College of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines Diliman in 2003, and from the Pratt Institute, New York, in 2009. In 2003, he was recognized as a finalist in both the Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards and the 20th Metrobank Young Painter’s Annual (watercolor category). His first solo show, Speck, was launched at Finale Art File’s SM Megamall space when he graduated a year later in 2004.
Jay Yao (Jose Campos III) (lives and works in Manila, Philippines) was raised with one foot in Vancouver, and the other in Manila. Yao did his thesis photography exhibit on Canadian-Asian identity at Hampshire College. After college, Yao moved to New York to further his skills as an artist focusing on photography. He currently spends the majority of his time in Metro-Manila. His works feature various terrains of local and international spaces that exhibit themes of identity in a modern society.
Yao has had numerous solo exhibitions. at Hiraya Gallery (Manila), Museum Pambata (Manila), Silverlens (Manila), Tixe Artspace (New York), Manifesto Gallerie (Manila), and quite recently in Artinformal (Manila). He has been sponsored by the Canadian and Mexican embassy in his earlier days. In 1998, he did an exhibition celebrating 150 years of Mexican Influence in the Philippines.
Photos: Courtesy of Columbia Global Centers | Beijing and Czyka Tumaliuan